The band´s FOH engineer, Mike Behrendt, reveals the most interesting facts of the tour with DAS Audio systems.
After the success of the "Autoterapia" tour, Izal is on the road again extending the tour to include 2020 dates in "El final del viaje/ Autoterapia vol.2", a farewell to the fans before taking a well-deserved rest. DAS Audio systems have accompanied this great band during part of their tour where they have sold out many shows and even played major cities for two consecutive nights.
Mike Behrendt, their sound engineer, is a good connoisseur of the sound industry. He was already familiar with DAS Audio systems having worked at FLUGE, and also PRG, in nearly all the Spanish music festivals. This time, he sets foot in the festivals mixing as FOH for the band ruling the road right now. Also, he has had the opportunity to work for artists such as Raphael, Amaral, Luz Casal and Pablo Alborán, among others.
But since 2013, he has been very busy at the helm of IZAL´s live sound. Immersed in the band's most ambitious tour to date, he has found some time to explain the inner-workings of this tour which has relied on DAS Audio's Aero-50 and UX systems.
During the “Autoterapia” tour, the band has been playing through a design comprising a main system of thirty Aero-50 (fifteen per side) and twelve UX-221A (4 stacks of 3 in cardioid configuration, 2 stacks per side), along with sixteen Aero-40 for Outfill, six Aero-20 for Frontfill and six Aero-40 for Downfill.
The band's show is based on space travel imagery. It is a bold audiovisual show that grabs you by the throat for more than two hours. What were the audio requirements for the tour and how has the system performed to the band's needs?
We were looking for a sound system that could offer a full range response, making all elements clearly audible in the mix. It was also important to have enough power or "punch" without producing unwanted distortions.
Finally, we got what we were looking for. The sound system met all these requirements and tackled them in a very successful way. The system also scored a success among the tour production team who were delighted to go forward with it.
You have performed at many different venues (WiZink Center, Palacio de Deportes de Granada and the bullfighting arenas of Valencia and Alicante), even playing two consecutive nights at major cities. How would you describe the performance of the Aero-50 and UX systems?
I have to say that, from the start, we found the right balance as soon as we started working with DAS Audio.
Like all systems, you must learn to get the most out of it, and after several years of working with it (in FLUGE and during this tour), we have the know-how to meet all our requirements.
In all the venues where we have used the system, it has performed correctly. Once we got the system up and running and knowing the response it offered, we were able to get the right designs and quantities of cabinets for the different venues where we played.
Have you had any chance to try out different configurations with the UX?
Except flown, we have tried all kinds of configurations, although on tour we always use the same.
As I see it, the best way to work with the UX is 3 stacks (3 units per stack) on each side, in a cardioid configuration, with the possibility to modify the lobe directivity. This means that we can adjust different times for the side stacks (taking the central one as a reference) with very short times, from 0.2ms to 1.2ms. In my opinion, this is the simplest and most effective way to work with them.
When you fine-tune the system, what is your workflow?
I believe that system design is the most important thing (this implies preparation, which is probably the most important work). I like to fly the system high, if the event allows it (between 6-8mts from the ground to the first axis), with a homogeneous vertical dispersion, and always tilted, even if the throw is long. From this point on, I pay a lot of attention to achieve a design in which the loudspeaker axes match perfectly.
Then, I take several central and side measurements to check the response and make sure everything is correct. Then, I apply EQ corrections to the main system.
From a central position, 10mts ahead or behind the front of house, I level and phase align the subwoofers to the main system. Once this is done, I adjust the rest of the elements: level, times and responses.
What frequency response do you need to make your mix work?
As requested in the rider, it must be a full response (20Hz-20kHz) but the actual working area of our show is 30Hz-18kHz. If this area performs within this range, the show runs smoothly.
If you had to highlight one aspect of the system performance...
Outdoors, the system is at its best. Its performance, depending on the design you make or the limitations you have, is fairly homogeneous in all the areas of the venue.